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RainDawg
2004-12-16, 01:10 PM
Intersting discussion going on over at Hydrogenaudio...
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=30067&st=0&p=260132&#entry260132

Apparently, the existence of clipped samples on officially released CD is becoming more and more prevalent. Just because something claims to be "remastered" doesn't mean it's better folks. Keep your eyes open.

Record companies are probably shoving old recordings through a mastering process without giving much attention to the specifics of the recording itself. Something quite a bit of dynamic range, like Dark Side of the Moon or Cookin' (the two albums discussed here) is going to foil their algorithms, and cause louder sections to become clipped.

Proof once again that not many people are not giving these recordings the TLA that they deserve.

wattershed
2004-12-16, 04:50 PM
Let's not forget new cds that are getting the clip treatment, let alone remasters of classics.

The hard limiting and compression that's being done on radio-friendly band recordings is criminal today. 90% of the population won't care, but I have a couple cds that I've purchased in the last two years that I can't even listen to anymore because of clipping (*cough*foofightersonebyone*cough*)

dorrcoq
2004-12-16, 05:20 PM
Let's not forget new cds that are getting the clip treatment, let alone remasters of classics.

The hard limiting and compression that's being done on radio-friendly band recordings is criminal today. 90% of the population won't care, but I have a couple cds that I've purchased in the last two years that I can't even listen to anymore because of clipping (*cough*foofightersonebyone*cough*)

does anyone complain about these cd's to the record company or at least return them for a refund? Sounds like you are paying for shit, but if nobody complains about it, like everything else, they will continue to issue shit.

Rider
2004-12-16, 05:35 PM
does anyone complain about these cd's to the record company or at least return them for a refund? Sounds like you are paying for shit, but if nobody complains about it, like everything else, they will continue to issue shit.

We had a huge thread on the Zwan site about how fucked up the clipping on that album was, it was so bad Billy actually replied, everything he said was bullshit though.

irishcrazy2005
2004-12-16, 06:19 PM
What exactly is clipping? Why can't I ever hear things that other people can hear? I can't even tell the difference between an mp3 and a lossless file.

-Phil

dorrcoq
2004-12-16, 06:36 PM
What exactly is clipping? Why can't I ever hear things that other people can hear? I can't even tell the difference between an mp3 and a lossless file.

-Phil


play the same song back to back in both formats and you'll be able to tell

RainDawg
2004-12-16, 07:11 PM
play the same song back to back in both formats and you'll be able to tell
Or better yet, use the foobar2000 ABX comparator, and see for yourself if you can tell the difference ;). I have pretty decent ears, but there is a definite limit where I am not better than 50/50, or pure chance, at telling the difference.

irishcrazy2005
2004-12-16, 10:43 PM
play the same song back to back in both formats and you'll be able to tell

I seriously did this like a week ago because it was driving me crazy that I felt that I couldn't tell, and I just could not tell. I am going to try that ABX thingy.

-Phil

RainDawg
2004-12-16, 10:53 PM
Maybe we should start an ABX thread. Basically, ABX is just a protocol for testing where you listed to sample A, then sample B, both of which you know what they are. Then you listen to the third sample and try to guess which it is, A or B. If you can't tell more than half the time, chances are that any percieved differences between the codecs is "just in your head".

I've used it to determine that I can't tell with OGG-5 or so, so I use OGG-6 just to be safe for compressing stuff to my portable.

feralicious
2004-12-17, 03:14 AM
Maybe we should start an ABX thread.Here's something I posted a few days ago about a program that lets you compare different wav files...
http://www.thetradersden.org/forums/showthread.php?t=1515

wattershed
2004-12-17, 03:26 AM
We had a huge thread on the Zwan site about how fucked up the clipping on that album was, it was so bad Billy actually replied, everything he said was bullshit though.

ZWAN! That was the other album I was trying to remember clipping. I sat at my computer staring at the screen trying to remember before typing my previous post in this thread.

The frustrating thing about Zwan's album is that they changed the composition of that album so much from how some of those songs sounded earlier in their creation, watered everything down, made it overly poppy...just thinking about it frustrates me. It could have been a brilliant disc. /offtopic

Anywho, another easy way to spot clipping is to rip a cd into wav, then drop those wavs into cool edit or another audio program. If there's clipping, there's going to be solid horizontal lines at the top of each channel, which basically means that the incoming signal was too loud (hot) and the signal peaked out at its max for an extended period of time. Sometimes, this "extended period of time" is only .25 seconds, but it just takes a semi-decent pair of headphones and a focused ear to spot it.

What's worse though is when you aren't even listening for it, and it pops up. It's like trying to listen to a radio station that's not coming in all the way, and delivers the occasional burst of static. Just enough to ruin the experience.

feralicious
2004-12-17, 03:42 AM
OH, yeah, and that clipping thing is terrible! :down:

Rider
2004-12-17, 03:42 AM
ZWAN! That was the other album I was trying to remember clipping. I sat at my computer staring at the screen trying to remember before typing my previous post in this thread.

The frustrating thing about Zwan's album is that they changed the composition of that album so much from how some of those songs sounded earlier in their creation, watered everything down, made it overly poppy...just thinking about it frustrates me. It could have been a brilliant disc. /offtopic

Anywho, another easy way to spot clipping is to rip a cd into wav, then drop those wavs into cool edit or another audio program. If there's clipping, there's going to be solid horizontal lines at the top of each channel, which basically means that the incoming signal was too loud (hot) and the signal peaked out at its max for an extended period of time. Sometimes, this "extended period of time" is only .25 seconds, but it just takes a semi-decent pair of headphones and a focused ear to spot it.

What's worse though is when you aren't even listening for it, and it pops up. It's like trying to listen to a radio station that's not coming in all the way, and delivers the occasional burst of static. Just enough to ruin the experience.


You think the Zwan album was bad you should see some other stuff. The Mars Volta have an album where teh entire album clips. The song starts heads straight up to 0db and stays there. I had a gif of it at one time.

Karst
2004-12-17, 04:52 AM
Wasn't there a problem with LZ's "How the West was Won" along these lines.

Rider
2004-12-17, 05:10 AM
The fact the SACD layer on the Dark Side of the Moon has no clips, proves my theory. The record industry is fucking up the sound on CDs to make SACD sound better. They spent 30 years telling people CD was the highest quality sound and convincing people to "upgrade" to CD. Now they face the problem of trying to get people to make another format change.

This has been big issue with me for over 2 years now. I refuse to buy any CDs because of it.

I also worry about my hearing for example I can listen to CDs with no cliping and not notice anything, but when I listen to just one track that clips using headphones I notice ringing in my ears. Even when I lower the volume it still freaks my ears out.

TheMamba
2004-12-17, 07:03 AM
You think the Zwan album was bad you should see some other stuff. The Mars Volta have an album where teh entire album clips. The song starts heads straight up to 0db and stays there. I had a gif of it at one time.

Which Mars Volta? Deloused at the Comatorium?

Shit, I've been listening to that thing for a week straight and haven't noticed. Could be because I'm listening in my car vs. home stereo......I'll have to take a closer listen.

RainDawg
2004-12-17, 08:37 AM
The fact the SACD layer on the Dark Side of the Moon has no clips, proves my theory. The record industry is fucking up the sound on CDs to make SACD sound better. They spent 30 years telling people CD was the highest quality sound and convincing people to "upgrade" to CD. Now they face the problem of trying to get people to make another format change.
This is a point brought up by the Stereophile Magazine review linked from that HA discussion....and I think it's valid. For the pseudoaudiophile, they'll switch between the two layers and say "wow, it's amazing what the differences is" despite the fact that proper ABX testing would reveal, were the audio identical, no difference.

Five
2004-12-17, 01:27 PM
I followed those links, this is distressing, I have never seen a cd like this before. I'm going to have to go get a copy of the anniversary DSOTM cd and check it out. Luckily, I've got my remaster (rev2, I think) which I can fall back on. I read that they are also introducing errors as part of some copy protection schemes, I wonder if this is related in any way?

Rider
2004-12-17, 01:31 PM
Which Mars Volta? Deloused at the Comatorium?

Shit, I've been listening to that thing for a week straight and haven't noticed. Could be because I'm listening in my car vs. home stereo......I'll have to take a closer listen.

Deloused, Rip one of the trackes to your PC and take a look it, music should look like a wav with peaks and vallwys not one giant blob.

RainDawg
2004-12-17, 03:33 PM
I read that they are also introducing errors as part of some copy protection schemes, I wonder if this is related in any way?
No, the copy protection schems insert intentionally flawed bits into the disc, but not on the audio portion. It makes it so that a computer drive will fail when trying to read the disc, though, as usual, there are going to be ways around it.

No, this is quite simply either a carelessness or an intentional hijacking of the audio on a certain recording. Read that HA thread again, some interesting comments have been posted about the possibilities of incomptence and/or malice being at issue with some of these recordings.

Either way, I am really upset and pissed off about this...I've bought quite a few jazz classics recently in their remastered form, and I'm afraid that some of them may be flawed. I've yet to find one of these mistakes on my own, but now that I know to look for them, I'm scared that they're going to start popping up everywhere.

Five
2004-12-17, 04:02 PM
I'm still shocked especially after looking at this:
http://www.stereophile.com/news/11649/index.html

Of all the studio albums ever released, DSOTM is the audiophile lp. They even remixed the 30th ann. edition strictly from the analog multitrack masters to analog half-track just to be pureists and now this!!!?? :confused:

RainDawg
2004-12-17, 04:10 PM
Well, they can mix from the analog masters all they want, if the production engineer is a cockhead and boosts the amplitude so high that the louder parts of the Money solo get clipped, then give me the old version any day.

Goddamnitassfuck....just the thought that someone could desecrate this album with such incompetence is unthinkable. It really makes you want to piss all over the record companies even more.

h_vargas
2004-12-18, 12:41 AM
No, this is quite simply either a carelessness or an intentional hijacking of the audio on a certain recording. Read that HA thread again, some interesting comments have been posted about the possibilities of incomptence and/or malice being at issue with some of these recordings.

RainDawg - i know you will appreciate the article link i'm posting here, by Rip Rowan. i read it about 2-3 months after it was posted online, and it's a great read. he delves into some "techie" points in his article, but i suspect you'll enjoy it as much as i did.

Rowan knows his stuff and he has excellent theories as to why the 'remasters' sound, ummm... less than desirable to say the least, and why more and more current recordings are sounding awful, to put it bluntly.

http://www.prorec.com/prorec/articles.nsf/articles/8A133F52D0FD71AB86256C2E005DAF1C


and this crap is really happening. being a big u2 fan, you can even hear it on their albums. if i pop the Joshua Tree disc in the Pioneer cd player in my car, the comfortable listening level (and i dont listen to music loudly on the stereo or in my car) is at #15 to 17. however, if i were to put in a newer disc (All That You Cant Leave Behind or 'Atomic Bomb'), the comfortable listening level is at to #9 to 11 tops. the newer albums are just pumped up to the max levels, and it makes the entire album much LESS enjoyable. there arent any more parts on newly released albums that are "quiet"... the "quiet" parts are still loud, and it destroys the artist's work and aim in the first place of putting a quiet track/part on an album.

with the combined efforts of music labels - the guys in the suits in offices worrying over profit margins and radio play - must be putting the heat on to the mastering engineers to make the "hot new artist's" album as loud as possible so it gets noticed from radio airplay.

over a year ago, i got into an argument over this very thing on a different message board with an audio "engineer." he was all high and mighty, saying he had read articles that "changed his mind" about mastering audio at the maximum levels possible. i posted that article, and he pretty much shut up then. (interestingly enough, he never did post any links as he said he would to those alleged articles that "changed his mind" abut mastering audio. what a douche.)


p.s. sorry for the rant. this is a topic that REALLY rubs me the wrong way. mess with my music, and it's personal then!!

RainDawg
2004-12-18, 11:27 AM
Great article...this is something that I honestly didn't realize as pandemic as it was until just the past few days. But it's really got me pissed off....I mean, I have a volume knob on my stereo, and I can turn it up a bit myself if that's what I want. I'm starting to dig through some of my newer CDs, and I starting to take notice at which ones have been clipressed (compressed to remove the dynamic range and then amplified to clipping point) and which ones have not.

It's a very distrubing trend, and just makes me even more willing to download the album from a p2p or usenet to sample it before buying. Honestly, I'd rather have an high bitrate mp3 from a well-mastered release than an original of something that has been ruined with incompetence.....

:mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

Rider
2004-12-18, 11:52 AM
Great article...this is something that I honestly didn't realize as pandemic as it was until just the past few days. But it's really got me pissed off....I mean, I have a volume knob on my stereo, and I can turn it up a bit myself if that's what I want. I'm starting to dig through some of my newer CDs, and I starting to take notice at which ones have been clipressed (compressed to remove the dynamic range and then amplified to clipping point) and which ones have not.

It's a very distrubing trend, and just makes me even more willing to download the album from a p2p or usenet to sample it before buying. Honestly, I'd rather have an high bitrate mp3 from a well-mastered release than an original of something that has been ruined with incompetence.....

:mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

It's a trend that started in like 98 was when I first noticed it, a few album with little clips here and there, now it is pretty much every album put out.

oldbrokentapes
2004-12-18, 04:59 PM
This is almost something I wish I didn't know about. I remember when I transferred System Of A Down's Steal This Album onto MD it managed to nudge the volume meter onto the the "overloaded" final notch, but I've never really worried myself with the issue. I don't listen to music on particularly high fidelity equipment, so I'm fairly immune to the odd speaker crackle. But, now I've read things saying "Hey, those truncated waveforms you've seen? They clip. Audibly. Listen!" I'm hearing it and it's gonna bug me. Just put a couple of bits of De-loused on and yes I'm hearing some feint speaker crackle but I'm definitely also hearing some pops/clips. And it's the label's fault, not that of my equipment, so there's nothing I can do about it. grrr :mad:

Cheers for the links though guys - even if it wrecks my listening experience for the rest of my life it still makes very interesting reading!

oldbrokentapes
2004-12-18, 06:00 PM
Hey we should have a competition - whoever can find the longest string of 0dB samples "unintentionally" present on an official release wins a CD full of white noise so that they can reassure themself with thoughts of "ah, could be worse" ;)

Anyway, I mentioned this on another forum and someone has brought up QOTSA's (aptly named) Songs For The Deaf as an example. This made me remember I have the leaked demos CD, a couple of songs on which are just unmixed/unmastered versions of the final album releases. Turns out mastering engineers may not be fully to blame. The waveform on the unmastered copies looks much more "true", but there is still the occasional incident of minor clipressing :hmm:

Five
2004-12-18, 08:02 PM
They're lessening the dynamic range of official cd releases as time goes on, just like they did with records in the 70's. The place where they had to draw the line was when the needle would jump out of the groove... I think they had a good sound in the early to mid 90s and I don't even mind the new records sounding louder, it's just when it goes right to the point of digital clipping when I get mad. The new APC cd is very "loud" but never clips once, for example.